The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Civil Law as an Instrument of Resistance

Peter Mason • 23 May 2005

I have read the Blanket with pleasure for nearly a year now and thank you for the stimulating, varied and committed voices you bring to my attention.

I refer to N. Corey's bewildering article on the civil cases under way or proposed concerning various acts of violence. He appears to equate the rights of individuals to go to law with their grievances as a form of state control. I would contest this.

There is an interesting link with an article in this week's Times Literary Supplement; a review by Thomas Nagel of collected lectures and writings by the American Feminist academic Catherine A Mckinnon. Nagel includes the following quote from Mackinnon in his review.

"In societies governed by the rule of law, law is typically a status quo instrument; it does not usually guarantee rights that society is predicated on denying."

Further into the review he summarises Mackinnon's response to this quandrary.

"...the means of attack (against unjust weighting of law in favour of status quo) should be not the criminal law, whose enforcement is too easily neglected by male authorities when it threatens male domination, but the civil law, which pernits injured women and their lawyers to initiate action and claim redress."

In short, the civil law can represent the interests of the least powerful when the political forces which prejudice criminal law (including the unrestrained power of revolutionary forces) fail them. This seems a particularly marked issue in a state which has denied the right to fair public trial before a jury of one's peers in recent
history, where the police force remains legitmately regarded as partial and constrained and where forces of resistance to the state's authority often behave as though they are subject to no agreed legal restraint.

I see no witch hunts. I see cover ups and attempts to bring what is hidden into the public light. I wish the plaintiffs in these cases well and would wish for a wider use of peoples' law against the powers of the state and the state's organised antagonists.

Citations: Corey N.: Civil Case/Witch Hunt

Nagel Thomas: "Legal Violations," The Times Literary Supplement, May 20 2005, reviewing Mackinnon Catherine A.: Women's Lives, Men's Laws, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0674015401























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

31 May 2005

Other Articles From This Issue:

Justice is the Right of All Our Victims
Gemma McCartney

Quis Separabit? The Short Strand/Markets UDA
Anthony McIntyre

Civil Law as an Instrument of Resistance
Peter Mason

A Salute to Comrades
Dolours Price

Behaviour of Young Gets Worse
David Adams

Recognising Similarities, Delivering for the People
Mick Hall

One Republican Party
Dr John Coulter

Venezuela: A Common Brotherhood
Tomas Gorman

May Day versus Loyalty Day
Mary La Rosa

One Eyed Morality
Anthony McIntyre

Lying in Wait for the Dutch Tsunami…After the French Earthquake

Michael Youlton

22 May 2005

How Those In Power Respond
Anthony McIntyre

Seeking Clarity — And Safety
Justice for Jimmy Campaign

Behind the Betrayal
Philip Ferguson

Self-Deception and Distortion
Tomas Maguire

Civil Case/Witch Hunt
N. Corey

No Entry
Anthony McIntyre

The Moral Reason Never to Tell
Dr John Coulter

Venezuela: Beginning to Borrow Some Revolution
Tomas Gorman

Dangerous Drugs
Sean Fleming

Rebel City
Liam O Ruairc



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